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[Xmca-l] Re: Отв: Re: Отв: Re: Unit of Analysis



Alexander, the topic is interesting, so feel welcome to continue. The topic is most interesting if, at some point along the thread, we can begin to mobilise this thinking in such a way that its practical implications become apparent and obvious to most xmca readers interested in seeing how all this can be relevant to research and practice. 

Alfredo
________________________________________
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Alexander Surmava <alexander.surmava@yahoo.com>
Sent: 12 September 2017 02:27
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Отв:  Re: Отв: Re: Unit of Analysis

Some reflections on the category of activity

Theoretical understanding of the category of activity (deyatelnosti) in the philosophy of the Modern Era goes back to Spinoza. The one whose cause of action belongs to himself is active. Active is the one who acts (according the form of it's object). It is not the one who moves according to an external impulse or program of a trajectory. Conversely, the one whose movement or conditions are determined by any external cause, external influence or stimulus is passive. By the way, the concept of the Subject as it is is inseparable from the concept of activity. There where is no object oriented activity, there is no subject, no psychy, no life.The Stimulus-Reaction relationship is entirely passive, at least from the reacting side. Therefore, the S->R relationship is an attribute of the mechanism and is incompatible with living subjectivity. Thus, a computer responsive to clicks of a mouse or keyboard in accordance with its program is not a subject, but an entirely mechanical automaton, a passive obedient to our will object of OUR activity, our subjectivity. The same can be said about the Cartesian animals and the primitive, non-cultured man in the representation of the old philosophy (and to a large extent of Vygotsky and paradoxically even Ilyenkov).The question arises - how, according to the old philosophers, emerges a subject?Descartes' responce is - magically. Through the magical joining of the disembodied soul to the mechanical body. Through the addition of a purposeful free will to the causal mechanical stimulus-reactive automaton. Obviously, from the point of view of rational, scientific logic, Descartes' solution is a dead end.Meanwhile, the problem, in this formulation, simply has no solution. Basically.Starting from passive, simply reacting body we will never come to free subject.  (In parentheses, recall that stimulus-reactive logic in any scientific understanding of both physiology and psychology is almost the only logic up to the present day.)
The next attempt to solve the problem belongs to the philosophers of the Enlightenment. Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant, who completed this line of thought, belive that the transition from the unfree, animal-like existence of people to freedom and reason take place through a social contract. In other words, according to these philosphers freedom is achieved through a specific convention, agreement. Let's notice, that over a natural question, how mechanical, in fact automatic machine is capable to make such a somersault of a mortal they did not reflect. According to their teachings, it is necessary to distinguish between the natural state of a person in which he is similar to an animal, and his cultural state in which he becomes above his unfree natural affects and bodily impulses and gains freedom. You probably noticed that actually this is the formulation of the so-called cultural-historical theory of Vygotsky and this logic is equally far from both the real culture, and from real history, and from Marxism.Although, it can not be denied that Vygotsky had good philosophical grounds for his theory. Rousseau and Kant are the greatest thinkers in the history of culture.
Let me finish this now, for it's already 3:00 a.m. in Moscow :-)If the topic seems interesting, I'll continue it tomorrow.Sasha


    понедельник, 11 сентября 2017 23:38 Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no> писал(а):


 Just to add some precedents, Dewey had taken the transactional view more or less at the same time as Vygotsky was lecturing on perezhivanie, when he formulated the notion of 'an experience' as unity of doing and undergoing, in his Art as Experience (1932-1934), and explicitly names his approach as *transactional* (vs self-factional and interactional) in Dewey and Bentley's Knowing and the Known, 1949.

Marx and Engels too speak to the 'passible' nature of 'real experience', in their "The Holy Family", when critiquing "Critical Criticism" and speculative construction for going against "everything living, everything which is immediate, every sensuous experience, any and every *real* experience, the 'Whence' and 'Whither' of which one never *knows* beforehand".

Alfredo


________________________________________
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
Sent: 11 September 2017 21:14
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Отв: Re: Unit of Analysis

Ivan--

your comment about everything being relative and the citation from Spinoza
seem to fit pretty well with what Michael commented upon.

For those of us trained as experimental psychologists, Spinoza was not a
central feature of the curriculum (a well known cognitive psychologist
colleague of mind outspokenly banned philosophy from consideration similar
to Pavlov's ban on use of psychological vocabulary to talk about
conditional reflexes in dogs.

Consequently, your remarks are very valuable in helping to understand the
issues at stake at stake among the cognoscenti vis a vis the particular
topic at hand.

thanks
mike

On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 12:08 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> I agree with your suggestions. I also consider actions to be transactions
> and happy to open the way to "feelings" instead of "sensations," which in
> English would accomplish the job.
>
> But its a terrible problem that we live life forward and understand it
> backwards. Leads to all sorts of tangles in the tread of life.
>
> mike
>
> On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 11:40 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth <
> wolffmichael.roth@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Mike,
>> if you add, "the capacity to be affected," then you open up theoretical
>> possibilities for affect (emotion).
>>
>> I have recently suggested to think not in terms of actions but
>> transactions. So, for example, listening to someone else requires (a)
>> actively attending and (b) receiving what you (in most cases) not already
>> know. That is, while actively attending to someone else speak, you do not
>> know (grasp) what is affecting you until you realize that you are hurt
>> (insulted etc).
>>
>> Anyway, you cannot reduce this to activity or passivity, because there are
>> two movements, a going (attending) and a coming (receiving), efferent and
>> afferent... So you are thinking in terms of transactions, the kind that
>> you
>> would get if you take seriously perezhivanie as the unity/identity of
>> person and environment.
>>
>> Michael
>>
>>
>> Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> --------------------
>> Applied Cognitive Science
>> MacLaurin Building A567
>> University of Victoria
>> Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2
>> http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/>
>>
>> New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics
>> <https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new-dir
>> ections-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-mathematics
>> -of-mathematics/>*
>>
>> On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 11:18 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>>
>> > Aha! So we are not talking about a passive neonate. Whew.
>> >
>> > Passibility is a new word for me, Michael. The OED's first two entries
>> > appear to incompass both Ivan and your usage:
>> >
>> > 1. Chiefly *Theol.* The quality of being passible; capacity for
>> suffering
>> > or sensation.
>> > 2. Passiveness; inaction; sloth. *Obs.* *rare*.
>> > To me, the addition of the word sensation to suffering broadens its
>> meaning
>> > significantly.
>> >
>> > Recently a Russian colleague suggested to me that Spinoza's use of the
>> term
>> > passion would best be translated as perezhivanie. Certainly it bears a
>> > relationship to the concept of perezhivanie as that term is used by
>> > Vasiliuk.
>> >
>> > mike
>> >
>> > On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 10:49 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth <
>> > wolffmichael.roth@gmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > > Ivan, the word passive has some unfortunate connotation. The term
>> > > passibility--the capacity to suffer--seems to come with a range of
>> > > affordances (e.g., see my book *Passibility*).
>> > >
>> > > Michael
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor
>> > >
>> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > --------------------
>> > > Applied Cognitive Science
>> > > MacLaurin Building A567
>> > > University of Victoria
>> > > Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2
>> > > http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/>
>> > >
>> > > New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics
>> > > <https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new-
>> > > directions-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-
>> > > mathematics-of-mathematics/>*
>> > >
>> > > On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 10:37 AM, Ivan Uemlianin <ivan@llaisdy.com>
>> > wrote:
>> > >
>> > > > Dear Sasha
>> > > >
>> > > > Passive as in driven by the passions. Isn't that how Spinoza would
>> > > > characterise animals and infants?
>> > > >
>> > > > Ivan
>> > > >
>> > > > --
>> > > > festina lente
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > > On 11 Sep 2017, at 18:05, Alexandre Sourmava <avramus@gmail.com>
>> > > wrote:
>> > > > >
>> > > > > Dear Ivan.
>> > > > >
>> > > > > To say that "that the neo-nate is not active at all, but passive,
>> and
>> > > > that therefore neo-nate behaviour is not activity" means to say that
>> > neo
>> > > > nate is not alive creature, but mechanic agregate of dead parts.
>> And I
>> > am
>> > > > not sure that idea about passiveness of animals or neo-nate fallows
>> > from
>> > > > Spinoza :-).
>> > > > >
>> > > > > Sasha
>> > > > >
>> > > > >    扭抉扶快忱快抖抆扶我抗, 11 扼快扶找攸忌把攸 2017 18:07 Andy Blunden <
>> > ablunden@mira.net
>> > > >
>> > > > 扭我扼忘抖(忘):
>> > > > >
>> > > > >
>> > > > > Yes, I think a further elaboration of this idea would lead
>> > > > > to an examination of needs and activity and sensuousness in
>> > > > > connection with needs and their development in connection
>> > > > > with activity.
>> > > > >
>> > > > > Andy
>> > > > >
>> > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > > > Andy Blunden
>> > > > > http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>> > > > >> On 12/09/2017 1:01 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote:
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >> Thanks Andy, the sense of 'visceral' is much more nuanced
>> > > > >> in your text, yes, and quite different from what one could
>> > > > >> grasp from the previous e-mail. And I now follow your
>> > > > >> elaboration on micro- and macro-unit much better, so
>> > > > >> thanks for that. I was hoping, however, that the
>> > > > >> elaboration would lead to some acknowledgement of the role
>> > > > >> of needs, real needs, as key to what the word 'visceral'
>> > > > >> was suggesting here. I was thinking that rather than a
>> > > > >> 'grasping', we gain more track by talking of an orienting,
>> > > > >> which is how I read Marx and Engels, when Marx talks about
>> > > > >> the significance of 'revolutionary', 'practical-critical'
>> > > > >> activity, the fundamental fact of a need and its
>> > > > >> connections to its production and satisfaction.
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >> A
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > > >> *From:* Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>> > > > >> *Sent:* 09 September 2017 03:30
>> > > > >> *To:* Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> > > > >> *Subject:* Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >> Yes, it is tough discussing these topics by email. All the
>> > > > >> issues you raise are treated in
>> > > > >> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Goethe-
>> > > > Hegel-Marx_public.pdf
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >> I am *not* dividing the world into 'immediate, bodily,
>> > > > >> and sensuous' and 'mediated, disembodied, and a-sensuous'.
>> > > > >> The whole point is to begin by *not* dividing. By contrast
>> > > > >> for example, Newton explained natural processes (very
>> > > > >> successfully!) by describing a number of "forces"; a force
>> > > > >> is an example of something which is not visceral or
>> > > > >> sensuous (and also not discrete so it can't be a 'unit').
>> > > > >> The "expression" of a force can be visceral (think of the
>> > > > >> effect of gravity) but gravity itself is an invention
>> > > > >> needed to make a theory of physics work (like God's Will)
>> > > > >> but has no content other than its expression. People got
>> > > > >> by without it for millennia. This is not to say it does
>> > > > >> not have a sound basis in material reality. But it is
>> > > > >> abstract, in the sense that it exists only within the
>> > > > >> framework of a theory, and cannot therefore provide a
>> > > > >> starting point or foundation for a theory. To claim that a
>> > > > >> force exists is to reify an abstraction from a form of
>> > > > >> movement (constant acceleration between two bodies).
>> > > > >> Goethe called his method "delicate empiricism" but this is
>> > > > >> something quite different from the kind of empiricism
>> > > > >> which uncritically accepts theory-laden perceptions,
>> > > > >> discovers patterns in these perceptions and then reifies
>> > > > >> these patterns in forces and such abstractions.
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >> If you don't know about climatology then you can't guess
>> > > > >> the unit of analysis. Marx took from 1843 to about 1858 to
>> > > > >> determine a unit of analysis for economics. Vygotsky took
>> > > > >> from about 1924 to 1931 to determine a unit of analysis
>> > > > >> for intellect. And both these characters studied their
>> > > > >> field obsessively during that interval. This is why I
>> > > > >> insist that the unit of analysis is a *visceral concept*
>> > > > >> unifying a series of phenomena, something which gets to
>> > > > >> the heart of a process, and which therefore comes only
>> > > > >> through prolonged study, not something which is generated
>> > > > >> by some formula with a moment's reflection.
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >> Each unit is the foundation of an entire science. But both
>> > > > >> Marx's Capital and Vygotsky's T&S identify a micro-unit
>> > > > >> but quickly move on to the real phenomenon of interest -
>> > > > >> capital and concepts respectively. But capital (which
>> > > > >> makes its appearance in chapter 4) cannot be understood
>> > > > >> without having first identified the real substance of
>> > > > >> value in the commodity. The rest of the book then proceeds
>> > > > >> on the basis of this unit, capital (i.e., a unit of
>> > > > >> capital, a firm). To ignore capital is to depict bourgeois
>> > > > >> society as a society of simple commodity exchange among
>> > > > >> equals - a total fiction. Likewise, Vygotsky's real aim it
>> > > > >> to elucidate the nature and development of concepts. He
>> > > > >> does not say it, and probably does not himself see it, but
>> > > > >> "concept" is a macro-unit (or molar unit in ANL's term),
>> > > > >> an aggregate of actions centred on a symbol or other
>> > > > >> artefact. The whole point of introducing the cell into
>> > > > >> biology was to understand the behaviour of *organisms*,
>> > > > >> not for the sake of creating the science of cell biology,
>> > > > >> though this was a side benefit of the discovery.
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >> Andy
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > > >> Andy Blunden
>> > > > >> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>> > > > >>> On 9/09/2017 5:31 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote:
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> Andy, thanks for your clarification on the 'visceral'.
>> > > > >>> The way you describe it, though, suggests to me an
>> > > > >>> empiricist position that I know you do not ascribe to;
>> > > > >>> and so I'll take it that either I've missed the correct
>> > > > >>> reading, or that we are still developing language to talk
>> > > > >>> about this. In any case, I assume you do not mean that
>> > > > >>> whatever our object of study is, it is divided between
>> > > > >>> the visceral as the 'immediate, bodily, and sensuous' and
>> > > > >>> something else that, by implication, may have been said
>> > > > >>> to be 'mediated, disembodied, and a-sensuous' (you may as
>> > > > >>> well mean precisely this, I am not sure).
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> I do not know what the climatologist's unit of analysis
>> > > > >>> is when discussing hurricanes either, but I do think that
>> > > > >>> Hurricanes Irma, Jos谷, etc, are expressions of a system
>> > > > >>> in a very similar way that any psychological fact is a
>> > > > >>> expression of the society as part of which it occurs. I
>> > > > >>> was thinking that, if we assumed for a second that we
>> > > > >>> know what the unit for studying of hurricanes is (some
>> > > > >>> concrete relation between climate or environment and
>> > > > >>> hurricane), 'feeling' the hurricane could be thought of
>> > > > >>> in may ways, only some of which may be helpful to advance
>> > > > >>> our scientific understanding of human praxis. The way you
>> > > > >>> seemed to refer to this 'visceral' aspect, as 'immediate,
>> > > > >>> embodied, and sensous' would make things hard, because,
>> > > > >>> are we 'feeling' the hurricane, or the wind blowing our
>> > > > >>> roofs away? In fact, is it the wind at all, or the many
>> > > > >>> micro particles of soil and other matter that are
>> > > > >>> smashing our skin as the hurricane passes above us, too
>> > > > >>> big, too complex, to be 'felt' in any way that captures
>> > > > >>> it all? And so, if your object of study is to be 'felt',
>> > > > >>> I don't think the definition of 'immediate, embodied, and
>> > > > >>> sensuous' helps unless we mean it WITHOUT it being the
>> > > > >>> opposite to 'mediated, disembodied, and a-sensuous'.
>> > > > >>> That is, if we do not oppose the immediate to the
>> > > > >>> mediated in the sense just implied (visceral is immediate
>> > > > >>> vs. 'not-visceral' is mediated). So, I am arguing in
>> > > > >>> favour of the claim that we need to have this visceral
>> > > > >>> relation that you mention, but I do think that we require
>> > > > >>> a much more sophisticated definition of 'visceral' than
>> > > > >>> the one that the three words already mentioned allow
>> > > > >>> for. I do 'feel' that in most of his later works,
>> > > > >>> Vygotsky was very concerned on emphasising the unity of
>> > > > >>> intellect and affect as the most important problem for
>> > > > >>> psychology for precisely this reason.
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> I have also my reservations with the distinction that you
>> > > > >>> draw in your e-mail between micro-unit and macro-unit. If
>> > > > >>> the question is the production of awareness, of the
>> > > > >>> 'experience of having a mind' that you are discussing
>> > > > >>> with Michael, then we have to find just one unit, not
>> > > > >>> two, not one micro and one macro. I am of course not
>> > > > >>> saying that one unit addresses all the problems one can
>> > > > >>> pose for psychology. But I do think that the very idea of
>> > > > >>> unit analysis implies that it constitutes your field of
>> > > > >>> inquiry for a particular problem (you've written about
>> > > > >>> this). You ask about Michael's mind, and Michael responds
>> > > > >>> that his mind is but one expression of a society.I would
>> > > > >>> add that whatever society is as a whole, it lives as
>> > > > >>> consciousness in and through each and every single one of
>> > > > >>> our consciousness; if so, the unit Vygotsky was
>> > > > >>> suggesting, the one denoting the unity of person and
>> > > > >>> situation, seems to me well suited; not a micro-unit that
>> > > > >>> is micro with respect to the macro-activity.
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> If you take the Spinozist position that 'a true idea must
>> > > > >>> agree with that of which it is the idea', and then agree
>> > > > >>> with Vygotsky that ideas are not intellect on the one
>> > > > >>> hand, and affect on the other, but a very special
>> > > > >>> relation (a unity) between the two, then we need a notion
>> > > > >>> of 'visceral and sensous' that is adequate to our 'idea'
>> > > > >>> or field of inquiry. We can then ask questions about the
>> > > > >>> affects of phenomena, of hurricanes, for example, as
>> > > > >>> Latour writes about the 'affects of capitalism'. And we
>> > > > >>> would do so without implying an opposition between
>> > > > >>> the feeling and the felt, but some production process
>> > > > >>> that accounts for both. Perezhivanie then, in my view, is
>> > > > >>> not so much about experience as it is about human
>> > > > >>> situations; historical events, which happen to have some
>> > > > >>> individual people having them as inherent part of their
>> > > > >>> being precisely that: historical events (a mindless or
>> > > > >>> totally unconscious event would not be historical).
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> I am no fun of frightening away people in the list with
>> > > > >>> too long posts like this one, but I think the issue is
>> > > > >>> complex and requires some elaboration. I hope xmca is
>> > > > >>> also appreciated for allowing going deep into questions
>> > > > >>> that otherwise seem to alway remain elusive.
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> Alfredo
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > > >>> *From:* Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>> > > > >>> *Sent:* 08 September 2017 04:11
>> > > > >>> *To:* Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> > > > >>> *Subject:* Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> Alfredo, by "visceral" I mean it is something you know
>> > > > >>> through your immediate, bodily and sensuous interaction
>> > > > >>> with something. In this sense I am with Lakoff and
>> > > > >>> Johnson here (though not being American I don't see guns
>> > > > >>> as quite so fundamental to the human condition). Consider
>> > > > >>> what Marx did when began Capital not from the abstract
>> > > > >>> concept of "value" but from the action of exchanging
>> > > > >>> commodities . Commodity exchange is just one form of
>> > > > >>> value, but it is the most ancient, most visceral, most
>> > > > >>> "real" and most fundamental form of value - as Marx shows
>> > > > >>> in s. 3 of Chapter 1, v. I.
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> I have never studied climatology, Alfredo, to the extent
>> > > > >>> of grasping what their unit of analysis is.
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> In any social system, including classroom activity, the
>> > > > >>> micro-unit is an artefact-mediated action and the
>> > > > >>> macro-units are the activities. That is the basic CHAT
>> > > > >>> approach. But that is far from the whole picture isn't
>> > > > >>> it? What chronotope determines classroom activity - are
>> > > > >>> we training people to be productive workers or are we
>> > > > >>> participating in social movements or are we engaged in
>> > > > >>> transforming relations of domination in the classroom or
>> > > > >>> are we part of a centuries-old struggle to understand and
>> > > > >>> change the world? The action/activity just gives us one
>> > > > >>> range of insights, but we might analyse the classroom
>> > > > >>> from different perspectives.
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> Andy
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > > >>> Andy Blunden
>> > > > >>> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>> > > > >>> https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>> > > > >>>> On 8/09/2017 7:58 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote:
>> > > > >>>> I am very curious about what "visceral" means here (Andy), and
>> > > > particularly how that relates to the 'interrelations' that David D.
>> is
>> > > > mentioning, and that on the 'perspective of the researcher'.
>> > > > >>>>
>> > > > >>>> I was thinking of the Hurricanes going on now as the
>> expressions
>> > of
>> > > a
>> > > > system, one that sustains category 5 hurricanes in *this*
>> particulars
>> > > ways
>> > > > that are called Irma, Jos谷, etc. How the 'visceral' relation may be
>> > like
>> > > > when the object is a physical system (a hurricane and the climate
>> > system
>> > > > that sustains it), and when it is a social system (e.g., a classroom
>> > > > conflict and the system that sustains it).
>> > > > >>>>
>> > > > >>>> Alfredo
>> > > > >>>> ________________________________________
>> > > > >>>> From:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>> > <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.
>> > > > edu>  on behalf of David Dirlam<modesofpractice@gmail.com>
>> > > > >>>> Sent: 07 September 2017 19:41
>> > > > >>>> To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> > > > >>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis
>> > > > >>>>
>> > > > >>>> The issues that have arisen in this discussion clarify the
>> > > conception
>> > > > of
>> > > > >>>> what sort of entity a "unit" is. Both and Andy and Martin
>> stress
>> > the
>> > > > >>>> importance of the observer. Anyone with some experience should
>> > have
>> > > > some
>> > > > >>>> sense of it (Martin's point). But Andy added the notion that
>> > experts
>> > > > need
>> > > > >>>> basically to be able to agree reliably on examples of the unit
>> > > > (worded like
>> > > > >>>> the psychological researcher I am, but I'm sure Andy will
>> correct
>> > me
>> > > > if I
>> > > > >>>> missed his meaning).
>> > > > >>>>
>> > > > >>>> We also need to address two other aspects of units--their
>> > > > classifiability
>> > > > >>>> and the types of relations between them. What makes water not
>> an
>> > > > element,
>> > > > >>>> but a compound, are the relations between the subunits (the
>> > chemical
>> > > > bonds
>> > > > >>>> between the elements) as well as those with other molecules of
>> > water
>> > > > (how
>> > > > >>>> fast they travel relative to each other), which was David
>> > Kellogg's
>> > > > point.
>> > > > >>>> So the analogy to activity is that it is like the molecule,
>> while
>> > > > actions
>> > > > >>>> are like the elements. What is new to this discussion is that
>> the
>> > > > activity
>> > > > >>>> must contain not only actions, but also relationships between
>> > them.
>> > > > If we
>> > > > >>>> move up to the biological realm, we find a great increase in
>> the
>> > > > complexity
>> > > > >>>> of the analogy. Bodies are made up of more than cells, and I'm
>> not
>> > > > just
>> > > > >>>> referring to entities like extracellular fluid. The
>> > identifiability,
>> > > > >>>> classification, and interrelations between cells and their
>> > > > constituents all
>> > > > >>>> help to make the unit so interesting to science. Likewise, the
>> > > > constituents
>> > > > >>>> of activities are more than actions. Yrjo's triangles
>> illustrate
>> > > that.
>> > > > >>>> Also, we need to be able to identify an activity, classify
>> > > > activities, and
>> > > > >>>> discern the interrelations between them and their constituents.
>> > > > >>>>
>> > > > >>>> I think that is getting us close to David Kellogg's aim of
>> > > > characterizing
>> > > > >>>> the meaning of unit. But glad, like him, to read corrections.
>> > > > >>>>
>> > > > >>>> David
>> > > > >>>>
>> > > > >>>>> On Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 10:08 PM, Andy Blunden<
>> ablunden@mira.net>
>> > > > wrote:
>> > > > >>>>>
>> > > > >>>>> Yes, but I think, Martin, that the unit of analysis we need to
>> > > > aspire to
>> > > > >>>>> is *visceral* and sensuous. There are "everyday" concepts
>> which
>> > are
>> > > > utterly
>> > > > >>>>> abstract and saturated with ideology and received knowledge.
>> For
>> > > > example,
>> > > > >>>>> Marx's concept of capital is buying-in-order-to-sell, which is
>> > not
>> > > > the
>> > > > >>>>> "everyday" concept of capital at all, of course.
>> > > > >>>>>
>> > > > >>>>> Andy
>> > > > >>>>>
>> > > > >>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > > >>>>> Andy Blunden
>> > > > >>>>> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>> > > > >>>>> https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>> > > > >>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>> On 7/09/2017 8:48 AM, Martin John Packer wrote:
>> > > > >>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>> Isn*t a unit of analysis (a germ cell) a preliminary concept,
>> > one
>> > > > might
>> > > > >>>>>> say an everyday concept, that permits one to grasp the
>> > phenomenon
>> > > > that is
>> > > > >>>>>> to be studied in such a way that it can be elaborated, in the
>> > > > course of
>> > > > >>>>>> investigation, into an articulated and explicit scientific
>> > > concept?
>> > > > >>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>> just wondering
>> > > > >>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>> Martin
>> > > > >>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>> On Sep 6, 2017, at 5:15 PM, Greg Thompson<greg.a.thompson@
>> > > gmail.com
>> > > > >
>> > > > >>>>>>> wrote:
>> > > > >>>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>>> Not sure if others might feel this is an oversimplification
>> of
>> > > > unit of
>> > > > >>>>>>> analysis, but I just came across this in Wortham and Kim's
>> > > > Introduction
>> > > > >>>>>>> to
>> > > > >>>>>>> the volume Discourse and Education and found it useful. The
>> > short
>> > > > of it
>> > > > >>>>>>> is
>> > > > >>>>>>> that the unit of analysis is the unit that "preserves the
>> > > > >>>>>>> essential features of the whole".
>> > > > >>>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>>> Here is their longer explanation:
>> > > > >>>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>>> "Marx (1867/1986) and Vygotsky (1934/1987) apply the concept
>> > > "unit
>> > > > of
>> > > > >>>>>>> analysis" to social scientific problems. In their account,
>> an
>> > > > adequate
>> > > > >>>>>>> approach to any phenomenon must find the right unit of
>> > analysis -
>> > > > one
>> > > > >>>>>>> that
>> > > > >>>>>>> preserves the essential features of the whole. In order to
>> > study
>> > > > water, a
>> > > > >>>>>>> scientist must not break the substance down below the level
>> of
>> > an
>> > > > >>>>>>> individual H20 molecule. Water is made up of nothing but
>> > hydrogen
>> > > > and
>> > > > >>>>>>> oxygen, but studying hydrogen and oxygen separately will not
>> > > > illuminate
>> > > > >>>>>>> the
>> > > > >>>>>>> essential properties of water. Similarly, meaningful
>> language
>> > use
>> > > > >>>>>>> requires
>> > > > >>>>>>> a unit of analysis that includes aspects beyond phonology,
>> > > > >>>>>>> grammar, semantics, and mental representations. All of these
>> > > > linguistic
>> > > > >>>>>>> and
>> > > > >>>>>>> psychological factors play a role in linguistic
>> communication,
>> > > but
>> > > > >>>>>>> natural
>> > > > >>>>>>> language use also involves social action in a context that
>> > > > includes other
>> > > > >>>>>>> actors and socially significant regularities."
>> > > > >>>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>>> (entire chapter can be found on Research Gate at:
>> > > > >>>>>>> https://www.researchgate.net/p
>> ublication/319322253_Introduct
>> > > > >>>>>>> ion_to_Discourse_and_Education
>> > > > >>>>>>> )
>> > > > >>>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>>> I thought that the water/H20 metaphor was a useful one for
>> > > thinking
>> > > > >>>>>>> about
>> > > > >>>>>>> unit of analysis.
>> > > > >>>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>>> -greg
>> > > > >>>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>>> --
>> > > > >>>>>>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>> > > > >>>>>>> Assistant Professor
>> > > > >>>>>>> Department of Anthropology
>> > > > >>>>>>> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>> > > > >>>>>>> Brigham Young University
>> > > > >>>>>>> Provo, UT 84602
>> > > > >>>>>>> WEBSITE: greg.a.thompson.byu.edu
>> > > > >>>>>>> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>> > > > >>>>>>>
>> > > > >>>>>
>> > > > >>>
>> > > > >>
>> > > > >
>> > > > >
>> > > > >
>> > > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > >
>> >
>>
>
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